To Rule in Amber, by John Betancourt

Second paragraph of third chapter:

“Do not leave me!” cried the tree.

Third of the four books in the prequel series to Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber, by the much less gifted writer John Betancourt. Oberon, our hero, starts to put together a governing regime for Amber, the new magical centre based around the mysterious Pattern. I confess I had lost track of all of his brothers and sisters, and they are pretty indistinguishable as characters – apart from the one who is obviously going to perpetrate a sudden yet inevitable betrayal, and duly does so. Unnecessarily confusing that there is a princess called Blaise here and the original Chronicles had a prince called Bleys. You can get it here.

This was the sf book that had lingered longest unread on my shelves. Next on that pile is the fourth and (thank God) last of this sequence, Shadows of Amber.